Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,511,106)
According to the last available Crime in the United States report from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the City of Philadelphia accounted for 42.7% of the violent crimes reported in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has almost eight times more violent crime than Pittsburgh, which is the second most populous city in Pennsylvania.
While addressing the increasing levels of violent crime, the resources provided to the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) have not kept pace with the rise in crime. In the City of Philadelphia for 2021, there was a continued trend upward in the number of Homicides (12.3%) and shooting victims (3.1%) from the previous year. The requests for DNA analysis to the Criminalistics Unit have increased by more than 22% in 2021. Increases in the sensitivity of DNA technology and the successes of “test-all” approaches for CODIS entries have resulted in the increased application of DNA analysis. While the total number of submissions has increased, the unit has built the capacity in recent years to address all homicides and sexual assaults; however, other violent crimes and property crimes are typically processed only upon request.
While the number of personnel has remained relatively constant over the past several years and productivity has significantly increased, the operational capacity of the unit is limited by insufficient facility space. Several of the recent initiatives that developed from Lean Six Sigma projects have resulted in an increase in operational capacity over the past six years. Overall, there has been a 181% increase in the operational capacity of the unit since 2016. As the strategy to increase efficiency continues, the unit is planning to implement robotics and mixture deconvolution into the workflow using previous grant awards that will continue to increase the operational capacity and impact of the analyses. While this will increase operational capacity, the expected successes from ability to deconvolute mixtures is expected to once again increase submissions. It is expected requests are going to be routinely received for additional types evidence that are not currently submitted (i.e. - fired cartridge cases, drug packaging and more property crimes). All of which could provide more actionable intelligence and investigative value for criminal investigations. In order address the current backlog and the potential increase in evidence submissions, the focus of this grant proposal is to further increase the operational capacity through resources in the form of overtime and outsourced vendor services.
- Detention Facility Improvements
- Implementation of the BERLA iVE vehicle system forensic tool to fortify investigative methods and strengthen criminal prosecutions for restoring justice and safety for victims and the community.
- Cleveland Hospital-linked Community Violence Interruption and Trauma Recovery Center